Senator McConnell: Democrats ‘Got a Report Card’ and ‘They Got an F’

By Penny Starr | November 4, 2010 | 4:11 PM EDT

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said if President Barack Obama and the Democrats want to accomplish the change Americans demanded in the midterm election, they will have to move toward the Republican side of the aisle. ( Starr)

( – Speaking at the Heritage Foundation on Thursday, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the midterm elections were not about the GOP but about the party that has been in charge of both chambers of Congress and the White House for the last two years.

“Tuesday’s election was not about Republicans, it was about the Democrats,” McConnell said. “They got a report card. They got an ‘F.’”

When asked by what he believed should be the top priority for the new Congress when it is seated in January, the Senate Minority Leader ticked off three issues: “spending, debt and private sector job creation.”

“[Voters] have taken a look at the effect of borrowing money from foreigners that will have to be paid back by our children and grandchildren and what kind of an impact that had on job creation,” McConnell said. “They don’t see much evidence of it.”

McConnell said that taxes would also be a priority, with Republicans planned to stop any tax increases from taking place in the lame duck session of Congress (November –December 2010) and would work to extend the Bush tax cuts.

“The first thing we’ve got to do is make sure taxes don’t go up,” McConnell said.

“So we have immediately before us, before the end of the year, a very serious question about whether or not we’re going to prevent a tax increase on anybody or anything at the first of the year,” he said.

“That needs to be resolved first,” McConnell said, adding that tax reform was a more complicated issue that would take more time.

McConnell’s speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation follows the release on Wednesday by the think tank of a checklist of what Congress should consider as its top priorities: freeze and cut federal spending; repeal Obamacare; stop tax increases; appropriate funding for a more secure America; provide better security for U.S. troops abroad; and put into place legislation that would mandate a limited government, including ending earmarks.

During the question-and-answer portion of the event, McConnell said Democrats looking for change after Tuesday’s election would have to look for it on the other side of the aisle.

“The mandate, if you will, for change, is directed at the other guys,” McConnell said. “We are right where we have been and the wonderful thing about that -- two days after the election – is we know for sure the American people agree with the policy arguments that we had over the last two years.”

“It was very clear that Republicans in the House and Senate didn’t think this was the right course to take,” McConnell said. “And so that’s the message I take out of it.”

It remains to be seen, McConnell said, if President Barack Obama got the same message on Tuesday.